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Chuck Wendig
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Samuel R. Delany
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SPOILER ALERT!

Extraction (Kindle Single)

Extraction (Kindle Single) - 'Douglas Preston',  'Lincoln Child' Preston and Child are a guilty pleasure of mine. I describe their books as "Indiana Jones movies in book form," because they tend to strain credibility and believability, but they're just so much fun to read. I've had fun with all the books of theirs I've read (Riptide was an awesome book, made even more awesome by the fact that I was at the beach when I read it), even though I know they're not going to win any awards. A friend encouraged me to read this story, since it was short, and featured Agent Pendergast from the long-running series featuring him.

The thing is, it's been a long time since I've read an Agent Pendergast story, so a lot of the references at the start of "Extraction" were a bit foreign to me. I didn't understand who the other people in the start of the story were, or how they tied in with the main character. I get the feeling that folks who are caught up with the series will know who they are and have some context about them, but I didn't get a real sense of either character. There was no development or explanation that I could find, for any of them; they were just there, at the start of the story, with the expectation being that the reader would know who all those people were. The story winds up being a flashback to when Pendergast was a child, so none of the characters introduced have much to do with the story itself, but then I have to ask if it was necessary to include them at all.

The story itself has some inconsistencies, as well, with the idea that the "Tooth Fairy" in their hometown could possibly have gone as long as he did without someone catching wind of it (if the kids were talking about it, the adults surely must have known) being pretty absurd. Pendergast casually mentions that his uncle and the Tooth Fairy disappear, with nothing else to say about it. It winds up coming off as a creepypasta story, and a poor one at that. For one thing, it wasn't as creepy as it could have been; for another, nothing was explained or resolved.

Preston and Child are accomplished enough writers to be able to do better than this, even when their stories aren't going to be deep, thoughtful affairs. My understanding is that this is their first short story, and if this is standard for what they would do with a shorter form, I think I’ll just stick to their novels.